INAUGURATION DAY

nation-2

Our hope is in You.

Tho our faults are numerous,

In mercy, forgive.

As we look to you,

Unite us as your people

In wisdom and love.

 

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DAMAGED GUARD RAILS

guard-rails

Someone had whammed the guard rail!  A sign had been put up “Damaged Guardrail.”  When installed it was shiny, sturdy, and solid, but now it is messy, marred, and mangled.    I wonder who hit the guard rail and why.  Was it caused by an out of control car that had a blowout?  Was it a mother who was passing goldfish to the toddler in a car-seat?  Was it a tipsy driver who drove in spite of laws against drunk driving?  Was it a new driver who had just taken a driver’s ed course and knew all the rules but lacked the experience?  Or was it the fault of the guardrail itself, maybe it reflected the glare of the sun at just the wrong time?  Or had the hail and rain been so blinding, the driver couldn’t see?

Seems like society’s guardrails work about the same way.  Parents are charged with being “first responders,” in the guardrail brigade.  So out come the plugs for electrical switches, fences, and car seats.  Deut. 22:8 is apropos, “When you build a new house, make a parapet (rail) around your roof so that you may not bring the guilt of bloodshed on your house if someone falls from the roof.”  But how far does that go, when a child deliberately jumps over the rail?  How does the church work out as a guardrail? Love, fellowship, respect and fun is great.  But when they start talking about discipline, holiness, and clean living – all that guardrails stuff – most studies show that more than half of the youth drop out when they age out.  So what about the government?  So here come the laws, surely they are good guardrails.  Oh, yes, good if people obey them.  But if they don’t (like in Prohibition, drugs, adultery, etc.) you do away with the law.  No law, no law breakers, no guardrails. How are society’s guardrails looking?  Weak and wobbly.  One guardrail still stands—God’s word.  Oh it is smashed, bashed, and trashed, but standing firm, steady and dependable.  Prov. 18:10  “The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous man runs into it and is safe”

 

 

 

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TEE SHIRTS AND SOCKS

I told you all last night in “Just Restin” that I’m in a coastin’ mood.  So today I’m postin’ a selection from FB three years ago.  Enjoy.

I had known Sammy most of a school year before I married him, so I guess I should not have been surprised to find a few little flaws in him after a few years of marriage. One of the most serious was that he would pull his tee-shirts off over his head and arms leaving them (the shirts, not the arms) turned inside out for the laundry. The laundry was no problem. I had caught on to the bit about having to wash clothes for the family. But turning those shirts right-side out! That bugged me for years. Finally I decided to quit fighting it; I took those shirts as an opportunity to pray and be thankful for him. So I did that – thinking out a sentence prayer of need and thankfulness each time I turned a shirt. That part of the experience didn’t last long. I guess the devil decided it wasn’t worth his time, God decided to move me on to more important things, or I successfully humbled myself to deal with the problem. I don’t know when I forgot the whole issue; however, I moved on. I find it kind of funny now that I notice I just fold them wrong-side out! He’s happy with that; I’m happy with that.
I gotta go, dear readers, Sammy is putting his laundry in the machine. “Sammy, there are only five socks there. That means one is under the sofa or left in a shoe, or somewhere. Look for it. Remember, even number for socks in laundry. Come on, darlin’, even number. Odd number means one is missing. You’re a math teacher, for goodness sake. Odd numbers, even numbers. Socks equals even number. Got it yet?”

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JUST RESTIN’

 

I’ve had four days of deep, deep thinkin’

Posts of value, I’ve been linkin’

I’ve an urge to try out goofin’

Write a poem that takes no proofin’.

 

Just an easy laid back feelin’

Slow my brain down from it reelin’

See if I might get some giggles

And watch my stomach while it wiggles.

 

Allow my readers an excuse for yawns,

And a good night’s rest before day dawns.

Keep it short to show I’m coastin’

Doing absolutely nothing for which I’m boastin’.

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LETHAL LANGUAGE

talking

Words can be beautiful.  Proverbs 25:11 says “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” Contrasting that is James 26 which says “The tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity…” This post concerns the harmful use of words.

“Words are like feathers blown in the wind” is a simile whose roots are in a traditional folktale which tells of a gossip who was brought before a wise rabbi. He tells the gossip to bring a pillow to the mountain top cut the pillow and watch as the wind blows the feathers away.  This story is told in many versions all of which illustrate the end result of reckless harmful words.  It is impossible to take them back.

Consider the following list of ways words are harmful:

  1. Gossip – Proverbs 20:19  “He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets; therefore associate not with him who talks too freely.”
  2. Sexual and ethnic “jokes” – Ephesians 5:3-4 “…neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting”
  3. Calumny/slander (talking about someone’s faults) – Luke 6:37 “judge not…”
  4. Sarcasm/backbiting – Proverbs 25:23 “The north wind brings forth rain; so does a backbiting tongue bring forth an angry countenance.”
  5. Lying – Proverbs 19:16 “A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he who breathes forth lies shall perish.”
  6. Arguing – Philippians 2:15 “do all things without murmuring and disputings”
  7. Breaking confidences – Proverbs 11:13 “A talebearer revealeth secrets, but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.”
  8. Nagging – Proverbs 21:9 “It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.”
  9. Put-downs, name calling – Eph. 4:29a “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth, but only what is helpful for building others up.

Review each of the nine categories of words listed above in light of Proverbs 18:21a “The tongue has the power of life and death.”  Do you agree that each of these categories illustrate the use of “lethal” words?

The words we read and hear in the present political climate can spell success or defeat for our neighbors and our nation.  Use discernment, and seek truth.

The following situation are given for any of you who might want to use this material for teaching.   Or perhaps you would like to comment on one of more here on the blog.

Situation One

Father One to his six-year-old: “Hey, that’s good stuff.  You are getting much better at staying inside the lines.  Tell me what the picture means.”  In the same situation Father Two might say:  “Show me your picture.  Let me see if you are still scribbling outside the lines.”  Which father is more likely providing the best motivation for the child to improve his coloring skills?

Situation Two

Jane Doe has known John since he was a child.  She knows he had a very disturbing childhood and spent several years in a reformatory.  John is now 22 years old and appears to be an upstanding citizen, but he is still on parole for past law breaking.  Nancy, Jane’s friend, tells Jane that she is going to marry John.  Should Jane ask Nancy if she knows about John’s past?  Consider the following two scriptures when answering this question.

I Timothy 5:13 “Moreover, as they go about from house to house, they learn to be idlers, and not only idlers, but gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not say and talking of things they should not mention.”

Leviticus 5:1 “If a person sins because he does not speak up when he hears a public charge to testify regarding something he has seen or learned about, he will be held responsible.”

Situation Three

Proverbs 12:18  “…Reckless words pierce like a sword…”  Eight-year-old Timmy is living in a verbally abusive home.  Grandfather is aware of what is happening so he tries to console Timmy by telling him the old adage “sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me.”  Will that be of help to Timmy?  If it is of help to him, how will he view his own harmful words to others?

Continuing Proverbs 12:18  “…but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”  Perhaps Grandfather can provide comfort with scripture, prayer, and words of encouragement.  Inspire Timmy with Psalm 34:18  “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”  Will an eight-year-old understand enough to know that they are relying on a “higher power” and that “higher power” will help him?  What is Grandfather’s responsibility to act in a manner that will counteract the hurtful words?

Situation Four

Children who have been verbally abused by authority figures often have very poor images of themselves.  Proverbs 23:7 “What a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”  Discuss these statements:  1. This pattern of authority will motivate one to prove his ability.  2. This pattern of authority will crush the spirit and keep one from achieving his potential.

Situation Five

Mary’s parents are careful to only use positive words of reinforcement.  Therefore, they continually say things like “You are doing so well…” or “That’s great. You are probably the best in your class.”  Refer again to Proverbs 23:7.  Is it possible to be too generous with praise and make a child feel so prideful that he is eventually going to face a negative reality that he has not been “armed” for?

Situation Six

Mrs. Brown is uncomfortable associating with various groups of friends.  It seems most groups talk negatively about their leaders.  Do you think Mrs. Brown herself may be saying anything to start this line of conversation?  What can Mrs. Brown do to keep the conversation positive?    Proverbs 17:4 “An evildoer listens to wicked lips; a liar pays attention to a destructive tongue.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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THE “WHIFF” EFFECT

pepper

When my sons were young, some people thought I was partial to one of them.  The good thing was that some thought I was partial to the other.  I took that as pretty good evidence that I was not partial!  When I was pregnant the second time (with Roger), I remember thinking, “I want this child.  I will be a good mother, but I will never love him like I love Carl.”  It wasn’t true.  I found that love multiplies rather than divides.

I’m saying this because I want to ask you a question?  Does it seem to you like God loves you better than anybody else, or does it seem like God loves others better than you?

Let me suggest an experiment.  If you passed a pepper shaker down a row of ten people and asked them to take a sniff, would number ten get less of a whiff than number one?  What if a hundred people sniffed?  Would the pepper be less potent for number one hundred?

Perhaps the pepper would appear to be more or less potent to some than others because of the “sniffer” not because of the pepper. You might see the effect on some people.  Perhaps they sneeze or cough.  The pepper was the same but some people took a bigger sniff.

So God is the pepper.  We are the sniffers.   God’s love does not change but the effect of his love may appear greater in some than in others.  If you want more effect, sit close and take a big whiff.

 

 

 

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SECRET PLACES

I, too, have been there – in the secret place.  Like Moses, I have been on the mountain top, hesitant to come down and take up the mundane duties of earthly living. Like Job, I was in the ash heap, but I came out saying, “I shut my mouth.  I knew nothing before, but now I’ve seen Him!  Now I know Him!”  Like David, I’ve washed the altar with my tears and joyed in sins forgiven.  Like Isaiah, I’ve seen Him high and lifted up. (Here I am, Lord, peeking over the earth’s rim, back here, behind the cherubim and seraphim  I love you Lord.)  Like John, I have leaned on His breast and dwelt there until His breath became my breath.  Like Mary, I have sat at His feet, and, like Martha, I have served Him in the kitchen.  I’ve been to places to wonderful to tell, beginning when, like the centurion,I stood at the cross and knew that, truly, there hung the Son of God.

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”  Psalm 91:1

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WHERE DID THE MONEY GO?

Short story, skit style today.  Hope it’s fun for you; it was fun for me.  

Two characters:  Pam and God.

Pam:    Enters room alone, muttering to self.  “Where or where am I going to get money for my school books.”

God:    Are you talking to me?  I don’t see anyone else around.

Pam stutters,   “Uh, Uh, oh, yes, I guess so.”

 I’m glad to listen.  Tell me about it.

Well, I have to have two books for my summer class.

You had $130 from birthday gifts.  What happened to that?

But that money was just for me – you know – just presents for me.  I bought new jeans.  I know you expect me to look nice.  That is a promise.  You clothe the lilies of the field.  So I know you don’t mind if I buy new jeans.

Oh, I’m happy for you to look nice.  You look nice in the dress your mom bought, too.  And the one your grandmother bought, the one from your summer job, and the three outfits your friend gave you because she couldn’t wear them anymore. In fact, all thirty-four of your outfits look good on you.  But back to the money. Those jeans cost $68 so you must have $62 left.  Can’t you buy books for that?

No, I bought tapes for my new stereo.  They were $6 each.  I bought two gospel tapes.  They are a real blessing.  They make me feel real spiritual and everything.

Yes, those tapes are uplifting.  How about the third one you bought.  Wasn’t it $8?  I haven’t heard it around here.

I haven’t played it.

Why did you buy it?

It was just that I didn’t know how to get out of the spot I was in.  I was down at the music store just sort of looking around when some cute guys came in and started talking to me.  They were going on about how good that tape was and I thought they would be offended if I didn’t buy it.

So you were just being thoughtful of their feelings, huh?

Yes, but I haven’t played it because I didn’t think you would like it much.

Well, let’s see.  You have about $42 dollars left, is that right? Won’t that buy two books if you get used ones.

Yeah, that’s about what used ones cost, but I don’t have $42. I took Jill and Karen out for pizza because it was Karen’s birthday.

Pizza for three.  That wouldn’t be so much.

I also had to buy gas.

Thirteen for pizza and ten for gas?

And six for a parking ticket.  I parked in a handicapped space.

That’s using the money pretty fast all right.  That leaves $13.  Would that buy one used book?  Oh, no, that $13 was your tithes, wasn’t it?  Looks like you need some more money.  I’ll get right on it and see what I can do for you.

God….

Yes?

God….

Yes?

I didn’t pay my tithes.  That $13 went for a second pizza.  Those cute guys at the music store came into the pizza parlor.  They were hungry and …..

 

 

 

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LAVISH LOVE

awaken

Awaken and know

The Father’s lavish love lies

Deep within your heart.

Daily haiku, prompt “lavish”  by Morgan

 

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IT’S MAGIC

canstock2387225

Her precious kindergarten face looked up at me in surprise, “It’s magic!” she said.  At her teacher’s request I had taken her to my room for a bit of one on one teaching to help out with some math readiness.

The situation was this:  I had four two inch blocks.  I set them out on the table and asked her to count them, which she could do.  “One, two, three, four.” Then I moved them together so they were touching each other.

“How many blocks now?”  “One,” she said.

“No, sweetie, see there are four. Watch one, two, three, four,” as I separated them.

“How many?”  “Four,” she would say.

“Right, now put them together.  How many blocks?”  “One,” she would answer.

After several times of doing basically the same thing, I put them together.  Her little eyes lit up with delight,  “It’s magic!” she said.

Not only do we sometimes not learn, but worse, we sometimes come up with the wrong answer.  The smiles we must bring to God’s face, as he says, “My ways are not your ways, neither are my thoughts, your thoughts.”  Then he tenderly says, “Let’s do it again.”  Oh, the love and patience of our Heavenly Teacher.

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